Healing clay is generally bentonite clay that is used externally or internally to detoxify the body. Proponents of healing clay use believe that many clays have the power to absorb toxins, pathogens, and impurities from the body. Warm clay baths are often used on the premise that clay can draw impurities from the skin through its open pores. Healing clay supplements can be taken internally to purify the body from the inside out. These clays are said to aid digestion, stimulate lymph production, improve circulation, and support overall good health.
Some believe that pelotherapy, the use of clay to support healing and health, is an ancient practice. Many researchers believe they have evidence that bathing in warm liquid clay can help remove impurities, pathogens, and toxins from the body. The liquid clay's warmth is said to help open pores, and the clay itself is believed to draw impurities out through the skin. Some types of clay, especially bentonite clays, are said to be highly absorbent. Most experts believe that a 20-minute bath in warm liquid clay is sufficient for detoxification purposes.
The benefits of clay baths are said to be many. They are generally believed to include improved circulation of both blood and lymph. Externally applied bentonite clay is said to have cellular rejuvenation and antioxidant properties for the skin.
Oral clay supplements are generally taken internally. Manufacturers claim these internal healing clays are capable of cleansing the colon to improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Manufacturers may also claim that healing clay can soothe toothache, ease bee stings and bug bites, relieve acne, and heal wounds.
Some physicians warn that claims made by manufacturers of healing clay products may be unfounded. Regulatory agencies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration often do not regulate the manufacture and sale of healing clay products, even those marketed for internal use. Manufacturers of clay for internal use may claim that products approved by the FDA, or another regulatory organization, may be less effective, due to the effects of the purification process on the clay.
Most experts believe clean, uncontaminated bentonite clay can be safe and beneficial, whether used internally or externally. Consumers are often advised to investigate manufacturers' claims for their clay products. Safe healing clay, especially when intended for internal use, should generally be free of contaminants and bacteria.